The Contender
A Cry from Jack's Heart

February 2024

16 “And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.

30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.”

Acts 28:16, 30

 

What Makes The Difference

 

Godly Leadership Makes the Difference” are the very words on a wall plaque that I designed long ago as an encouragement for many who serve in realms of legitimate authority.

Two scripture texts are engraved above a poised eagle: Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” and, Habakkuk 2:1 “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.

This plaque has been given to scores of leaders across this nation and throughout the world. In fact, this very plaque hangs on the wall in the ‘Roll Call Room’ at Chester County Prison.

One thing is certain, each one of us has experienced the difference authority makes when applied from the heart of one who is both righteous and steadfast in reliance upon the counsel of the LORD.

These truths apply in every realm of leadership: family, church, government, sports, business, education and most certainly in the powerful institutions and agencies of the criminal justice system.

God warns of misuse of authority and promises a day of retributive justice towards those who misuse their powers. Psalms 82:1-8 “God standeth among the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods (authorities)…Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

Throughout Acts 20-28, there are recorded several examples of what I’ve noted in my opening thoughts. If you take the time, you will read testimony of many lives who ‘made a difference’ in the life of the Apostle Paul. While a study for another time, just imagine the difference in Paul’s life once he came to know and surrender to the calling and purposes given him by Jesus Christ! Many of you reading this are serving in several realms of authority.

Your life is impacting the precious souls given to your care and keeping. Whether an officer within the prison charged with the care of a prisoner or a new mother blessed with a new-born baby; your behaviors are impacting those given to you by God for the sustaining and encouragement of each significant, precious life.

O, how I thank God for those wonderful leaders in my own life who ‘make a difference.’ In my labors within the prison, law enforcement, courts, families, churches, schools and government; I’ve been encouraged to know many who faithfully look to the LORD for His leading and manifest a desire to rightly influence the souls under their care. “A rightly broken and contrite heart’ seems the most needful of all behaviors most necessary to any leader ‘for such a time as this.’

A great prayer for this ‘hour’ in history: “O, LORD, give us repentant leaders!

 

Godly Leadership

My greatest fear in my life is to fail my own children! In fact, nothing is more necessary to our lives than seeking to glorify God in each realm of our personal influence.

All of us understand the influence of a leader. Inherent to every role of leadership is the issue of accountability and stewardship before God. Whether we like it or not, ‘leading’ is built into just about every relationship in this life and we are either experiencing its blessings or suffering the consequences of its failure.

O, God, help us all to seek your counsel and directing in every area of our lives. Psalms 25:4,5; Jeremiah 10:23,24

 

Election & Inauguration Questions

 

February opened with the privilege of my being able to host the ‘prayer room’ at the National Prayer Breakfast.

While in Washington, I seized the opportunity to attend the National Gathering for Prayer and Repentance, as well. The National Prayer Breakfast usually gathers on the 1st Thursday of February.

As I sat in the ‘prayer room’ at the Washington Hilton Hotel on February 1st, I wondered what the state of our nation will be in 2025. Will America experience another ‘peaceful’ Presidential Election? Will the outcomes of this November’s election truly determine our next President? Will January of 2025 gather a reverent and grateful people for the Inauguration of our next ‘leader?’

O, LORD, send us a ‘leader’ who cries before the whole nation, as Jeremiah:

Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens. We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned. Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied. Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through. Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people. All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction. Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission. Till the LORD look down and behold from heaven.” (Jeremiah 3:40-50)

Handle With Prayer

Our ‘Fourth Sunday Night’ schedule for the months of June thru August is beginning to fill with ‘timely’ speakers.

We do not underestimate the critical importance of each day and concerning the staff and commitments of County Corrections Gospel Mission, we awaken each day with a renewed sense of urgency and desire to embrace God’s fullest leading and directing.

The campus of the ‘Old Mill’ is blessed with constant care and is always prepared to serve our partners and those reflecting the ‘heart cries of the criminal justice system.’

We are planning to replace one of our main water systems under the beautiful, campus dining room at the cost of approximately $12,500.00. When this is completed, our entire facility’s water resources will be fully revived for the best serving of all who gather as ministry partners.

Please pray for the Chester County Prison and for those raised up to serve as ‘leaders’ in every realm of its administration and correctional staff. Pray for the chapel attendance and the willing, caring support of our officers. 

Pray for “all in authority.”

Always with Gratefulness,  

Jack Crans, Debtor

 

 

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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.