Joseph Herrin (04-23-2016)
Recently a brother in Christ who has been a generous supporter of the ministry to men in prison, having purchased the printer I use for prisoner newsletters and contributing to the purchase of the Toyota RAV4 that I find myself using for frequent trips to the post office, inquired as to whether I have had any idea of the number of men who are exhibiting good spiritual fruit as a result of the outreach to them. He wrote:
I am happy that the RAV4 and printer have worked so well for your needs. It is encouraging to see how the Father has made provision for you in the work He has called you to do. Do you have any idea how many of the guys that you minister to in prison are turning to the Lord in true repentance and are beginning to walk with Him? It’s good to hear from you.
I responded in the following manner.
You asked if I have any idea how many of the guys I minister to in prison are turning to the Lord in true repentance. I have never sought to ascertain numbers, but as you can tell from some of the correspondence I share in the blog posts, there is a definite remnant who are experiencing a work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. I do not take any credit for this, as I believe that in many cases the men have already been under conviction by the Spirit when they encounter my writings and ask to receive the material I send out. Rather, I see what is occurring as the Lord connecting those whom He has prepared to receive truth with the message which is available. In a number of cases I have had men write and say they began praying that God would provide them with truth and something that would help them grow spiritually when they came across my writings. That indicates to me that the Spirit was already present and performing a spiritual work in their lives.
Although one of the first books I send to every man is the writing titled Overcoming Addiction by the Spirit of Christ, which is in actuality a nuts and bolts exposition of the gospel message, I do not see myself primarily being used as an evangelist, but rather as a disciple maker. I also hear from men in prison who do not appear to have much spiritual life in them, but they have asked to receive the Parables Bookshelf Newsletters nonetheless. Whether the word of God is fully received by a good heart, or it falls on soil that is less fertile, I believe Yahweh has a purpose for each one who receives the truth. To some the truth they hear serves to make them accountable to God. I think whether in prison or out of prison, it is always a remnant of men whose hearts are the good soil into which the seed is sown.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,
Without question, it is the remnant who are showing signs of spiritual fruitfulness in their lives who bring the greatest joy. Such ones are the primary focus of Yahweh’s attention, and they hold a special interest in my heart as well. Yesterday I was blessed to receive in the mail four different letters from men in prison, and each of the letters manifested evidence of spiritual fruit. These letters appear below, giving evidence that when the light shines in the darkness there is potential for fruit to come forth. The first letter is from a young man who has been receiving the Parables Bookshelf Newsletters for a few months now. This is the first time he has written to me other than his initial letter requesting to be placed on the mailing list.
Hello Joseph Herrin,
Hey, I was thinking about you so I chose to just write you, if you don’t mind. I’m Anthony. I’m 19 years old. I’m a black male. I’m 6′-1″ and about 130 in weight. On May 19th, 2013, I was arrested for armed robbery. To this very day I regret the events of that crime. I bear shame and guilt for me doing it, and as I receive your parables it makes me look back at it and I really can’t see how I was a person who can even think of doing something like that. But now I got a complete better understanding of my sinful condition. Because of you, Mr. Herrin, I now read the word of God more. I also study your Parables Newsletters.
I would love to be free so I can go to your website and get your books. The name (Heart4God)! ☺ You have convinced me to have a Heart4God. But not just God the Father, but the Son of God as well. When I was free I didn’t know anything about God or His Son. Since I have been in prison, plenty of guys have tried to convert me to be a Muslim or Christian. But I had no hope in religion. Something inside me kept me wondering about God and Jesus, but I thought “I’m not good enough to speak to God,” so I was on and off, and soon quit.
Then I met this guy and we were talking about the secrets of the government and he said he receives these Parables Newsletters that talk about these things. So he gave me your address and I wrote to you. Now that you have been sending me these newsletters I see my faith in Yahweh God and in Yahshua the Christ growing more and more as I study your teachings. Your teachings have opened my eyes to a new life. I walked in darkness but now I can see the light.
Your teachings have given me hope and courage. They touched my inner being and flowed to my heart. They bring tears to my eyes as I read them. What you write is so true, and I know because I can feel it as I read it, it’s so deep. I really want to thank you so much. You have brought me out of the slump I was in. I feel a new person that dwells within me that wants to overcome the old. May Yahweh richly and greatly bless you! And may He allow you to continue spreading the gospel of Christ!
Because more than you may know Mr. Herrin, there are plenty of guys where I’m at that love your newsletters. They are so drawn to them. One of the guys, me and him had a talk today about some of your Parables. He really loves the one about “Dragon Flood.” I like it too, but right now I’m trying to get as much knowledge about Yahshua and the rewards in heaven. He also informed me that you have some books on Amazon.com. If you do, I would be sure checking them out.
Right now I’m in the process of going back to court to get my case overturned. The courts violated my rights and didn’t follow proper procedures to convict me. So I don’t know if God is giving me another shot, or not. But I feel like it was meant for me to go to prison. Because if I never came to prison, I wouldn’t never have seen these Parables, which means I would never look to seek after Yahweh’s free gift of salvation. So this was Yahweh’s way for me to find my way back to Him. Even though I hate these experiences, I thank God He led me this way, and if I could take back the experiences I wouldn’t.
So if God blesses me in court by freeing me, I need to pay Him back by carrying out His will and submitting to His obedience, allowing Christ to transform me and work His purposes through me. So I say to you “THANK YOU!” When I get out I am going to look into more of your teachings.
From: A New Believer, Anthony
“I will give you a New Heart and put a
New Spirit in you. I will remove from you
your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 36:26
From Darkness to Light! God is Light!
Readers of the Parables Blog may remember a recent post titled The Fearful Inmate. In that post I shared some correspondence with a man named Randy who was very fearful of threats on his life from gang members in prison. He had been stabbed in 2011, and has lived in much fear since. His release date is September 2016. I invited readers to pray for him. Yesterday I received a letter from him which shared the unexpected news that he is to be paroled early. Following is what he wrote to me.
Hello, Randy here. I received all of the large packet. It had some very good stuff in it and I will read/look over it again. Mr. Herrin, I’d like to tell you what a blessing God has bestowed upon me – a release! The Parole Board sent the Parole Chief in my county to check my home address (my sister’s house) for Parole eligibility and they approved the location. They then (April 16th) said they expected me to be released in 3-5 weeks from April 16th. Amen! God’s awesome!
I wrote the Parole Board and God moved on my behalf. I try hard daily – But I know I must not get ahead of myself in prison. I haven’t signed any paperwork just yet, plus I may be shipped to another prison tonight. I sure hope not for gangs are out to get me (long story – I will explain when I am released – but God knows I am being honest on my part). You may want to check my prison status before sending the next newsletter to me.
I do realize and know that all good and bad is of God and approved by God, and it’s for His authority to stand and show truth. Will you please keep praying for me that I’ll be led home safe and unharmed. I will write again, I am sure, before I leave prison. I figure I have 3 weeks or so left. When I get home I will stay in touch. Your spiritual guidance has been awesome and so helpful. Thanks! But I’m still struggling with fear and fretting, but God will lead the way. Amen.
May you also be filled with peace and understanding in these last days. Amen.
Your brother in Christ,
(Note: When I checked online, Randy had not been transferred to another prison. Please keep him in your prayers that he would make it home safely and that he would keep his focus on pleasing God after his release.)
The next correspondence needs a bit of background before I share it. Kevin is a 29 year old white male. He committed murder when he was 21 years old and received a life sentence. Kevin wrote to me some months back asking to begin receiving the Parables Bookshelf Newsletters. It was apparent from some of the statements in his initial letter, and in following correspondence, that he is quite deficient in his knowledge of the Bible and his understanding of Yahweh and His kingdom. It struck me as incongruent that Kevin signed his mail, using the title of “Reverend.” When I inquired about this he informed me that one of the Prison ministries he had been receiving material from conferred on him the title of Reverend, and sent him a certificate of ordination. He also informed me that this title was not conferred on him from having completed course work, but rather due to some “spiritual qualification.”
I am more inclined to excuse Kevin for this presumption of calling himself “Reverend” than I am to excuse the behavior of the “ministry” that conferred the title on him. Such ones are what the Bible describes as “evil workers.”
Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision…
Ministries like this are NOT doing the work of the Lord by conferring certificates of ordination upon men in prison, men whose character they do not know. As you might expect, there are a great many fraudulent, deceptive, and apostate ministries and ministers who focus on men in prison. They sow confusion, teach falsehood, and prey upon foolish members of the body of Christ to financially support them as they report on how many men’s lives they are impacting. In the case of this particular ministry, they are likely boasting of the number of men whom they have ordained as ministers. I have discussed this subject a number of times with Kevin, and I will share my correspondence with him below.
In your letter you did not ask any questions, but I thought I would send you a reply after reading what you shared about your being a minister and having received a Doctor of Divinity degree. I noted also that you are signing your name as “Rev. Kevin (last name withheld).”
I am sure you are aware that “Rev.” is an abbreviation for the word “Reverend.” What I am not so sure of is whether you are aware of the meaning of that word. Reverend means “worthy to be revered; entitled to reverence.” The word “revere” means “to show great respect for; regard as worthy of great honor.” Kevin, whenever you sign your name as “Reverend” you are announcing to people that you are worthy of great honor, and people should show great respect to you.” To use such a title before your name is not in keeping with the will of God. The Bible states the following.
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips.
When you place the word “Reverend” before your own name you are praising yourself to others. You are announcing to people that you are someone they should worship. When you do this you do not please God, for He shows favor to those who are humble, not to those who go around boasting about their greatness.
Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
I know you need the grace and favor of God in your life. Because of your past sins you should seek to be as humble as possible before both God and men. Then Yahweh will be able to show you kindness and compassion.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,
Kevin has been very accepting of my counsel. After receiving the letter above he wrote me back to say he would no longer be using the title of Reverend. He did not fully grasp my message, however, for he inquired as to what title I thought he should use since he has received this ordination. Kevin’s question was born out of ignorance of God’s ways, so I took time to explain the issue to him further.
Thank you for writing again. In your letter you asked me what word I think you should use since you are an ordained minister now that you are not going to use the word “Reverend.” Although I am glad you are not going to use the title Reverend anymore, you have not fully understood all that I would like to convey to you about using titles. When you say you have been “ordained,” I am pretty sure you are speaking of one of the ministries you receive material from having ordained you. Kevin, another man cannot ordain you as a minister. All true ministry must be initiated by Christ. Consider the words of the apostle Paul.
Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God…
Paul (also called Saul) was chosen by Christ to be a minister, and this was made known to the church by the Holy Spirit.
Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. And while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went…
Notice that it was the Holy Spirit who chose Paul and Barnabas to be ministers. This was made known through a revelation of the Holy Spirit. Unless the Spirit of Christ calls and appoints a man to be a minister, there is no authority behind the title. It does not matter if other men ordain a man to be a minister. If Christ has not chosen the man and declared him to be a minister, the title is an empty one. Not even going to Bible College and Seminary qualifies a man to be a minister. A man may earn a degree from a school, but that does not qualify the man to be a minister in God’s sight. God looks at the spiritual maturity of the man, and God also appoints certain men to serve as ministers, equipping them with the ability to teach, correct, and encourage. No man should ever appoint himself a minister. Only God can do so.
Kevin, from your letters I have discerned that you do not have a solid understanding of the Scriptures or of the mind of Christ. If you keep studying the Bible and seeking God, and if you allow God to purge, purify and refine you, a day may come when Yahweh will use you as a minister. I am fairly confident in saying, that if such a day comes, having the title of a minister will mean very little to you. Since it means so much to you now, I do not believe you are ready to be a minister. True ministers must be humble and spiritual men. They are focused on honoring God and serving others. They are not focused on their own reputation and glory.
Kevin, I do not think you should use any title. Just identify yourself as Kevin. If people want to talk to you about the Lord, you can tell them you believe in Jesus Christ/Yahshua the Messiah. That is all you need in order to identify yourself to others.
Kevin, I can say with assurance that Christ appointed me to be a minister to the body of Christ, and I entered into this ministry 20 years ago. Nevertheless, I do not identify myself as Pastor, or Reverend, or Teacher, or Prophet, or Apostle. I just sign my name. Titles do not matter to me. You will not be benefitted in any way by adding a title to your name either. Quite often, it is nothing more than pride that motivates men to identify themselves by some title. Remember what I wrote to you previously. God gives grace to the humble. Therefore, men should not make themselves out to be something they are not…
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,
I received a reply from Kevin yesterday, and I was pleased to observe his humble attitude. This is a young man who wears a tear drop tattoo next to his left eye. In prison culture, a tear drop tattoo indicates the person has murdered another human being. Some inmates sport multiple tear drop tattoos. Even murderers can be redeemed by the Lord, and I am hopeful that this is the case with Kevin, for he is demonstrating an interest in spiritual matters. In the letter I received from Kevin yesterday, he wrote the following.
Thank you for responding to my letter. I must say that you sure did open my eyes to some hard truths. You are right in saying, or implying, that I am proud and boast about being ordained. I have definitely changed my mind about that and now await the day that God chooses me to teach people about God and His word. I will no longer talk about being ordained, nor will I use titles before my name. I will follow your advice and simply use Kevin.
You are even more right when you said you do not believe that I am ready to be a minister. What I need is a good mentor to help me grow spiritually and understand God’s word. Some people do not like nor want the truth, but I welcome it and look for it. Thank you for being honest and not sugar coating anything. I have put my certificate away because you said it don’t mean nothing, now that I know better. I did receive the missing newsletter you sent to me. Thank you. For now I will close. Thank you for your time and God bless.
I received an additional letter yesterday from an inmate with the remarkable name of Solomon. His correspondence is noteworthy due to the humility evident in his words, openly admitting his own shortcomings and how the writings being sent to him are bringing conviction. I will close with his letter.
Mr. Joseph Herrin,
Greetings, and may Yah’s love fill you to overflowing! May you be continually guided by the Spirit and Love! Hallelujah!
The newsletter issue 1.5.2 (The Road From Babylon To Zion) is really an eye opener! Physically and Spiritually! I see at once the difference of opinions in your conversations with some fellow believers who run a website. What was MOST important to me is that his conversation was leavened with anger, frustration, and bitterness while yours is embodied with Scripture after Scripture! He expresses feelings and opinions, yet you share Scriptures and love! Hallelujah!
Another thing the Spirit showed me is that I have A LOT of the other guys “thoughts and emotions” in me. I am led to be completely honest and open with you Mr. Joseph, for I am REALLY wanting to be obedient to the Father and His Son. As my Head, I must follow His example! I see the other guy as Babylon and your “Spirit-led” knowledge and wisdom as Zion!
Forgive me, please, but I did not wish to praise you out of pride, but only to “loudly applaud” your obedience to the Father! Oh how I want to be led by the Spirit in knowledge, wisdom, and discernment. But as I’ve learned from your personal travels, I must have a complete foundation with Yahshua as the Chief Cornerstone!
With help and prayers I am becoming more and more spiritual-minded, wanting more spiritual food! I HUMBLY say thank you for you showing me, through your obedience and love for Yahweh the truth and understanding I need. I only wish to continue being obedient day by day, overcoming my flesh!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
If there is something I can do to help in any way, let me know! I wish to do Yah’s will and be completely led by His Spirit! Hallelujah!
Thank you for your long days and nights, and accept my love and prayers for you and your family,
Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063