Now before faith came, we were held captive under the Law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the Law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:23-24
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
For about six months, our program, "Stand Still," has been working in partnership with the Concordia Foundation. (The Concordia Foundation is Lutheran Hour Ministries' name in Russia.)
Let me explain how our partnership works. My part of the prison presentation involves a Christian concert while the Concordia Foundation makes a witness and provides follow-up literature. Together we have made appearances in detention centers and more than 50 prison camps.
In all of the regions where our work has been done, prison authorities have been appreciative, welcoming and approving. They are glad to see the prisoners being given literature, which provides comfort and relief. Part of the success of that literature is that it is always placed into the hands of the prisoners immediately after the concert.
These men and women value the pamphlets, tracts and correspondence courses. That is partly because these things are a souvenir, a remembrance of the concert. Mostly these things are valued because the Holy Spirit uses them to bring people to the Savior. By God's grace, our programs have been used to give a new life to lost men and women behind bars. That new life is nurtured as the Concordia Foundation continues to communicate with these prisoners and help them provide Christ-centered answers to their questions.
Now you may wonder if souls are being impacted, as I have suggested.
All I can say is I wish you could stand alongside me on stage. As we bring the crucified and risen Redeemer to these prisoners, the brightening look on their faces gives a glimpse as to how the Holy Spirit is working.
You and I both know that prisons are usually Satan's very fertile fields. But now you should also know the power of Christ and His deeds can reclaim that which Satan thinks he owns. Knowing that, we will keep going to prisons to preach God's Word! We do it in hopes that those who already have faith in Christ as their Savior will be strengthened and encouraged, and those who are still coming to the crossroads will be able to hear the Holy Spirit's call.
In conclusion, even as I thank the Concordia Foundation and their Director, Igor Savich, I also wish to thank you for your support of this ministry. Your help has given us many, many letters of appreciation such as
* "I thank you for an introduction to Jesus. I would gladly attend a church. I'd go wherever you recommend me to go."
* "I enjoyed the Bible Correspondence Course greatly. I thank the Almighty and the Concordia Foundation for this. Thank you for your sincere Christian love."
* "Prior to studying the Bible Correspondence (Course) I did believe in a god, but I misunderstood the importance of Jesus Christ. Now I know and believe."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for the Savior whose sacrifice sets the prisoner free. May the Holy Spirit's work accomplish great things wherever the Gospel message is proclaimed. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was authored by Igor Baranchikov, originator of the programs "Stand Still" and "To the Glory of Russia." Born in 1961, in the city of Tula, he performed as a trained classical musician in the Tula Philharmonic. In the 1990s he accepted various high-paying positions that were going to take him from Russia. Then a chance meeting with a priest changed his life. He started reading the Bible and was soon inspired to write various spiritual songs. His program "Stand Still" is designed to reach folks who are having difficulties. Since 1994 this program has been presented to many thousands of prisoners, drug-addicts, and teenagers at-risk.
In this vast country, LHM-Russia makes good use of the Internet and social media vehicles to broadcast spiritual content. It uses radio and television programming, print media, music, drama, and puppet performances to get the Word out. Staff and volunteers focus on youth and prison ministry opportunities too. Since the beginning of March, three well-attended Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops were held in partnership with area churches. Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) are popular across the board, with a high rate of graduation among people of all ages. Recently, a Russian social network, Vkontakte, was employed to invite non-believers and the unchurched to take advantage of the Bible course, "Conversations about the Christian Faith." In addition to online invites, some 32,000 flyers were distributed by hand to subway commuters and passersby in May!
You can read about the recently completed language summer camp in Vyborg that LHM-Russia participated in by clicking here and reading its blog.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhm.org/international.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries