I want to share a miracle with you...
As I walked the crowed room I noticed the back row is full with four women that are engaged in spirited conversation. As the service begins, this group remains engaged in conversation so I go to the rear and say to one of them, "We are in service so the talking needs to stop."
You see, in prison, some inmates come for the service, but many come to meet their girl friend or mate, or just to have free time. If order is not established in the service, word quickly spreads in the yard that your service is for mating and free time. Throwing them out of service is an option, but how can they hear the Gospel if they are removed? Taking authority is the only way to gain control of the service and this day, authority had to be established.
As I preached I would walk to the rear to make eye contact or approach the back row because the chatter became a whisper or other forms of forbidden communications. The team knows as long as they don't disturb service, they can remain, so like kids playing on the back pew in church, you learn to tune them out and let them play quietly as long as they don't disrupt service.
There were times when the back row listened and other times they would slip away from the message, but they always stayed below the separation point...
The separation point is another level of discipline to remove them from where they want to sit, to where we tell them to sit. In prison, you don't get many options so being told where to sit in Chapel is a point of anger and some have left because the freedom was taken from them.
As the message draws to a close, the Spirit provoked me to do an altar call. I normally do not have one in this service, but this time I found there were three or four in the room that were not saved; those on the back row were among the lost. As I extended the altar call for salvation, no one responded, but just as I was about to do a call of re-dedication, I saw one hand timidly raise to accept The Lord as her Savior. I was shocked, so I acknowledged the hand, but continued to do the call for re-dedication - seven or eight hands were raised. With the additional hands I thought the one would have enough confidence to come forward because she might not take the long walk alone. As I called the one who accepted Christ and those who rededicated their life to Christ, the one from the back row rose and came to the Lord.
Her friends all looked at her shocked as she broke away from their chatter and walk boldly to the front as she made her public decision for Christ. I will never forget the shock and dismay of those on the back row as the one came forward; the same one I had singled out in the beginning of service was the one that gave her life to The Father.
Only God could do that. That is how I know-- Salvation is a miracle.
So even when you think no one is listening, tell them about Jesus. Who knows, you might just witness a miracle!