"An Inside Perspective"

April 2010


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! As Christians, we impact other people’s lives, sometimes without even knowing it. I am who I am today in Christ because of the investment people made in my life early on. They made that investment, by faith, at what they believed to be the leading of the Lord. Never doubt how the Lord can and will use you!

As I reflect back, I realize that every single Christian in my life, from before the beginning until now, was hand-picked by God for my good. There were many men and women of God whom the Lord used to shape me and to form my character.

Mother Jane Frank and her husband Bobby pursued me tirelessly while I was in my sin. They were the hounds of Heaven, and I was the rabbit! They never gave up on me. I could go on and on about all the wonderful people of God who the Lord has used to minister to me in my incarceration. I really don't even like to use the word incarceration, because in truth, a freer man than me you will never meet! Ha! Surely the Son of God has set me free and I am free indeed!

It is written, “Let another man praise thee and not thine own mouth…” With that Scripture in mind, today I would like to honor a very special man. His name is John Moses. Jane sent John to me. Indeed, it seemed to me that he just appeared in my life as a burning bush! He was aglow with the love of the Lord, and my darkness could not comprehend it.

John the Baptist’s whole ministry was to point men to the Christ. He was a witness and he witnessed to the Truth in Christ Jesus. Even as the moon has no light of its own, but reflects to others the light of the sun, so also, John the Baptist had no light of his own, but reflected the light of Christ to others. Similarly, John “the Baptist” Moses was to me, and still is to all men in the Monmouth County Jail, even as John the Baptist was to the Jews. “He was a burning and a shining light!”

No one had more of a profound effect on my walk than did John “the Baptist” Moses. He shaped my perspective and growth in the Lord. I met John in a small, hot, smelly conference room eight days after my arrest. I was unsaved and John was talking some mumbo-jumbo (Philip’s paraphrase I Cor. 2:14) to me about some supposed Jesus as Lord. I had never read the Bible in my life but John was there to water the seeds Jane and Bobby had been planting for years. Honestly, I could have cared less about John or what he was saying. I was just happy to be out of my cell! Then, as I thought about it, I wanted to get right back to my cell! I pictured all my fellow rascals on the cell block with newspaper sticks, string and paper clips trying to get my cigarettes out of my cell while I was gone! Now that was worth calling on the Lord for! John just did not understand the import of such serious matters! Ha! Well, as the Lord would have it, John left and I got back to my cell. I soon got in a fight over said cigarettes and off to the hole I went! There I met Tony Hardin. He faithfully witnessed to me, despite his own problems, and the Lord saved me.

Later, I got out of the hole and guess who was waiting for me? Yep, John “the Baptist” Moses! He took a special interest in me and came to see me almost every day. He counseled and discipled me, one on one, for three years. He was a loving father to me.

It may sound funny but the Bible was instantly so very real to me and I just couldn’t get over the fact that this guy’s name was Moses. It seemed so “supernatural” to me at the time. John was loving but hard. He had been a vice-principal for many years and was an excellent disciplinarian. He wasn’t “taking no shorts” as they say in here. But you know what? He was exactly what I needed. He lovingly drove me like an old mule, sugar-coating nothing. His favorite saying was, “Philip, it’s not where you are that counts but what you do with where you are that matters.” I still use it today with the men I work with. His point being, “O.K. Philip, you committed a horrible crime and you are going to do lots of time, that is just the cold hard truth.” Then he would say, “But Philip, you can change lives in prison for Christ. You can become a man of God, Philip, and you can then build men for the Lord in prison!” He would say, “There is no higher calling for a man than to build men for the Lord. It doesn’t matter where you build them, what matters is that you build them. They are living stones, Philip, in the temple of God for the glory of God.” He taught me to see prison not as the state’s punishment grounds but as the Lord’s chastening school! He was right, because for those who have eyes to see that is exactly what prison is! He’d say, “Philip, you can be the Lord’s ambassador to the New Jersey prison system!” He told me “I could in Christ” when the whole rest of the world said “I couldn't.” He was right, the world was not. I have, by the grace of God, lived what he taught me. It is my prayer to one day be found faithfully fruitful in all things. Are you…