>My House is Open 1:Writer Harold Sheffield, Jr. -Fellowship Beyond the Walls

>Let me first say congratulations to DeLano in this blog endeavor..we have talked extensively about this and I’m glad that it is finally getting off the ground.

My heart pains me this evening as I ponder a close friend who in the spirit of 3 John was a “warrior for the faith” that we all envelop in Christ. I remember first meeting him when I began my first years of incarceration and all of my subsequent encounters with him were from “behind the walls…”

You see.. There is a large fellowship behind the “walls of incarceration” who believe what we believe and in a lot of cases are the first face and the last face one sees when they arrive in jail and are either released..move on to the state prison system or pass away and this Friendship in Christ becomes so important to that person’s life because that individual is headed to the next life’s chapter..whether he realizes it or not and this momentary “pause” is one that God has chosen to attempt through the many friendship bonds in Christ to get that man’s attention…

These friendship encounters started often with a hug, a ramen soup or a honey bun, and always with a bible or a tract and as I think of my dear friend often lead to large roles in the institution’s worship service. For it was here that my friend nurtured that talent I had to sing although I hadn’t sung since I was a boy some 20 years previous and we both went on to sing and direct choirs throughout the jails and prisons we served at from 1995 to my final release in ’08.

My fondest memories that directly apply to the III Epistle of John were those nights when we joined hands with that brother being released that next morning where my friend, our leader, would pray earnestly that this man was ready; equipped with the spiritual tools that would enable him to never return and it was our joy for those that still had time to do that he had gotten out ..prospered..anchored himself in the word and was walking in the truth.

When my time came for release they gave me one such farewell..my brother I mentioned above lead the prayer..tears were shed and I strive each day that a report is given back to the many “Johns from the epistle” that their Gaus’s walking in truth…

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6 thoughts on “>My House is Open 1:Writer Harold Sheffield, Jr. -Fellowship Beyond the Walls

  1. >Thanks for sharing how Christ uses other believers to impact our life for the better (His Glory). As one who teaches Bible study in prison, I know other believers there are impacting my life (the fellowship is amazing) but I really did not know what type of impact I was having on them as well. That all changed when an inmate that was released ran into another brother that had went into the prison with me. The ex-inmate recognized him and told him that he will never forget the impact that we (through the Holy Spirit of course) made in his life through our encouragement and Bible teaching. And he mentioned me by name and how I (again – the Holy Spirit) had taught him how to be a fisher of men. He said he is on fire for the Lord and leading others for Christ and is a godly family man. I was blown away when I heard the report. To God is all the glory!

  2. >Harold, thanks for sharing that God can does foster relationships with Christian bonding "beyond the walls". I'm truly amazed on how God allows things to happpen in our lives in order to bring us 1) to or 2) back to him. I think we miss out on true fellowship whether it's behind or beyond the walls. You made me think about my three first cousins who are currently incarcerated. My prayer is that Marcus, Ramon and Nick will find a Timothy that will strengthen their eternal chains in Christ, as your friend did. Your story proves and validates to me that God is everywhere but most importantly in the blessing and life changing business. Thanks for Sharing.

  3. >Harold, thank you so much for sharing the evidence in your life that God uses other believers to encourage us to "walk in the truth." Your entry took me back to the days when God used others to encourage me to trust the Lord Jesus Christ with my life and soul. I am so thankful for 2) their persistance and most importantly to me 1) their consistent, faithful testimony that they shared with me; their "life." I could tell by the way that they lived their life (e.g., how they handled adversity, how they went out of their way to help and encourage others) that God was real and awesome. I pray that others are able to see the same in all of us that were poured into. I pray that our love and hospitality is also a testimony to others that God is real and awesome!!! May we all be thought of as a "Gaius" to those who mentored us in the faith. Thanks for sharing, bro!

  4. >Wow, brother what a great entry, thank you. It is my belief that because of how the traditional church setting is viewed in western culture, more "real" encounters with Christ and more "real" opportunities for fellowship and accountability happen "beyond the walls". Praise Him!

  5. >Yea man. Thats it. I hadn't thought about corporate body and fellowship in that context but those extreme circumstances are perhaps a better picture of what the body should look like. When we're complacent and things 'appear' to be mundane we tend to fall into a systematic Gospel life with little variation. And this is not typically how God seems to work through us. I think Bussey is on to something regarding being "real."

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