Southern Baptist Convention

Rick Sharkey

CHAPLAIN - LOUISIANA

Our prayer time today is going to be sort of a lock-in because we want to think about the Louisiana State Penitentiary. With more than 6,000 prisoners and covering 18,000 acres, the Louisiana State Penitentiary is the nation's largest maximum security prison. It is bordered on three sides by the Mississippi River. Most prisoners there have been sentenced to life in prison for terrible crimes. But here's some better news. The prison also has a Baptist church; prisoners arrive wearing shackles. There's also a Bible college operated by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and, yes, that's one of the six seminaries our church supports through the Cooperative Program. The person in this prison we want to pray for today is one of the Baptist chaplains named Rick Sharkey. He teaches the Bible and disciples the prisoners who become followers of Christ. But he does not preach because he wants the prisoners to do the preaching. We know that Rick's ministry is both very difficult and very rewarding. Rick is one of the more than 3,000 chaplains endorsed by our North American Mission Board, which our church also supports through the Cooperative Program. Let's pray for Rick now.

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April Devotion

Christ is the Capstone

DR. KEN HEMPHILL

"For those who follow Him, He is the capstone that makes all life's efforts cohere and have lasting meaning." The cornerstone described in 1 Peter 2:6 creates a powerful image. The "head of the corner" was a massive stone set, not in the foundation, but in the upper corner of a building to bind the walls firmly together. The huge stone would have been useless in other positions in the building. It lay rejected in the building yard while the walls were being built. Its size would have made it a stumbling block to the builders as long as it lay on the ground unused. But once in place, it became the capstone on which all else in the building depended. Christ is too great to be neglected or rejected. For those who follow Him, He is the capstone that makes all life's efforts cohere and have lasting meaning. But for those who stumble over and reject Him, life will lack purpose and meaning. There will be judgment in the life to come. The first mark of a genuine disciple is the recognition of the gift of salvation graciously offered in Christ. Christian stewardship is marked by the confession that all we are and all we have has been received from God and therefore belongs to God.

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